Greetings from the Chatelaine!
We are always excited to share in our fellowship with those who are new to the SCA and would like to join us. If you're here, you probably already have an idea of what the SCA is all about, and are from the Kingdom of Meridies, and are maybe even already familiar with the Barony of Iron Mountain, which is our local group here in Birmingham, Alabama.
We encourage you to come to a meeting and sit with us as we learn together. You can ask anything you'd like to know about the SCA of the Chatelaine, which is the officer who has volunteered for the office which assists newcomers and new members of the group. Other members of the group will be happy to help you, too. Never feel shy to ask questions, because we are merely friends you haven't met yet. We have all started off as a beginner in the beginning, after all. So always feel welcome to walk up to other members and ask if they might explain what's going on there. We enjoy sharing our passions with our SCA friends!
Do you have to become a member to participate in these things? No, you don't, ever, if you don't want to. You can always come to our meetings, local fighter practices, demos, etc., and even attend SCA events as a non-member. There are certain things that only members can do, such as hold office, fight for certain titles, register names and devices, and have a discounted price for events, so there are certainly benefits to membership. Just don't feel as though you cannot attend if you're not a member, because that's certainly not the case.
What is the SCA all about? Chivalrous behavior is very important in the SCA. It upholds the best of the times which we aim to recreate. It serves to encourage others, and uplift them. And surely, if you act with such behavior, in all things, you will find that before too long you will be rewarded as well. Be thoughtful, and gracious. Members of the SCA treat each other as though they were truly in the best of Medieval times, enjoying each other's company.
You do not have to "talk the talk!" In the SCA, we do not talk like medieval people, so don't worry about this. However, there are certain titles that should be observed in keeping with courtesy and precedence. "Thank you, your Excellency!" instead of "Thank you sir", for example. Don't worry, no one will look at you funny or point and laugh if you forget and say something like "Thank you, sir." Courtesy is still courtesy, after all. These are some of the things a Chatelaine can help you to learn. This is just to give you an idea of how we re-create the lifestyle which we do.
So, what is there to do in the SCA? There are MANY activities within the SCA that you can participate in. Many folks in your own Barony probably do or have participated in things you'll find of interest. But if not, you can still find plenty of folks at events and online who are happy to share their knowledge with you! One great way to learn new things is by attending classes at events. Many different topics are covered in classes, sometimes centered around that event's theme, but not always. Always check the schedule for events you'll be attending to see if there's something you won't want to miss. Fighters: yes, there are even fighters' classes.
Taking classes isn't the only type of activity there is within the SCA, but the A&S (Arts and Sciences) Order of the society certainly encompasses a lot of the activities. After all, Medieval people did many, many activities both for both pleasure and for survival purposes. Encouraging the educational side of the society is one of the things that drives the organization forward, and maintains its non-profit status. So don't forget to report any classes you take, new things you learn or participate in, or even research, to your Arts & Sciences Officer!
Weekly meetings and fighter practices are ways to participate in the SCA. But, where you'll find larger concentrations of "players" of this "game" is at Events. Events come in many shapes and sizes, from a 1-day event all the way up to a 2 week long war! Almost every single weekend in a year's calendar there will be events hosted somewhere in the Kingdom.
Events sound fun! How do I find them? Start with the Kingdom online calendar, or ask around the Barony. Sometimes you can share a ride with someone else who is planning to attend a nearby event. When in doubt, just ask! You can find us on the Yahoo email group, or the Facebook group, or in person. Just let someone know that you're interested in finding out more, or attending. In particular, find your Chatelaine if you need a buddy. You can also ask her for loaner "garb" (costume/clothing) and/or loaner feast gear (plates and things to eat with at the meal) if you need.
In closing, hopefully this helps to give you a general idea of what to expect in our group here within the SCA. Do not hesitate to contact the Chatelaine with any questions you have at all, and we certainly do hope to see you soon!
You can find more details about these topics and others from the offsite Chatelaine notebook found here.
Barony of Iron Mountain